Overloaded on Nutrition Research? How to Find Clarity.

“Why didn’t they teach any of this in med school?” So began the question and answer session following my presentation at the annual meeting of the American Association of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation (AACVPR). My topic: “Information Overload! Helping Patients Distinguish Evidence-Based vs. Anecdotal Nutrition Strategies.”iStock_000005236823_Small

If you sometimes have a sense of information overload about what the research is saying when it comes to cancer prevention, heart disease and other areas of your health, you’re not alone.

Headlines regularly contradict each other about “must-include super foods”, rules about what to avoid, and suggestions that long-held nutrition mantras don’t make any difference after all. As it turns out, the health professionals at AACVPR made it clear that it’s not only their patients who are feeling information overload; they are, too.

In my presentation, we looked at common areas of confusion, going beyond the headlines to put studies within context of overall research.

•    Some observational population studies don’t show a difference in heart disease risk with higher saturated fat. That highlights the importance of looking at overall eating Continue reading


Breakfast: Still Good for Health and Preventing Cancer?

Important or not? If you’ve seen breakfast news stories lately, you may wonder if you need to bother with that steaming bowl of oatmeal or morning yogurt and fruit.Yoghurt with fresh fruits and almonds

The two recent studies, highlighted in Cancer Research Update this week, focused on how breakfast affects weight. These trials were short term, but they do seem to show that if you just don’t like or want to eat breakfast, it may not make a difference for weight loss. If that finding holds, it could give you more flexibility in finding ways that work for you to get extra weight off.

However, there are great reasons to start your day off with something healthy – whether you consider it breakfast or a snack: Continue reading


Potatoes: Bad Guys or Cancer-Fighters?

Read an article about foods you shouldn’t eat and white potatoes may well be on the list. The starchy staple is linked in some studies to overweight and obesity and we lag far behind in getting enough non-starchy veggies, like leafy greens, summer squash, broccoli and colorful peppers, all shown to lower risk for several kinds of cancer. But are potatoes so nutrition-poor we should never eat them?

Potatoes’ bad nutritional reputation probably stems more from how we are eating them, rather than the spud itself. share-of-potato-sources-for-us-consumersA recent report from the USDA Economic Research Service shows that, depending on where we eat them, one-third to two-thirds of our potatoes are chips or fries. Even at home, we eat potatoes as chips more than any other way.

Consider that a small serving of fries or chips is double the small potato’s calories, 10 times the fat and less than half the vitamin C. We just need to re-think the potato on our plate, not eliminate. Continue reading